Information Fluency and InfoWhelm!

In an energetic day-long presentation On February 21st, author and educator Ian Jukes addressed the faculty and staff of Fort Sam Houston ISD. It was an incredible day filled with startling facts about the future of technology, our students, and our emerging new roles as educators. In the end, we seemed to have more questions than answers, but it was great "food for thought."

One of Jukes' projects is his 21st Century Fluency Project, an online resource for educators "designed to cultivate 21st century fluencies while fostering engagement and adventure in the learning experience." I've posted once before about all five of Jukes' fluencies, but want to focus on Information Fluency here.

Jukes is quick to point out that, with the wealth of digital information, we are experiencing "InfoWhelm". That is, information is growing at an exponential growth and we live in a world of disposable information. In 2003, there were about 5 exabytes of digital content (equal to the 37,000 libraries of The Library of Congress). Today, there are about 500 exabytes (equal to 13 stacks of books from here to Pluto!)

Students need to know how to wade through all this information, thus Jukes call for Information Fluency. Specifically, Jukes says we need to teach students to...

  • ask good questions in order to get good answers
  • access and acquire material from the appropriate sources
  • analyze the raw material to distinguish good information from bad information
  • apply the new information in a real-time, real-world products
  • and assess the process and the product.

The following video is a great illustration of what Jukes is talking about:

So, how's your Information Literacy and what can you do to teach it to our future generation?
Image from: Accessed Feb 22, 2011


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